You’ve likely built a business plan, but have you taken time to plan your marketing?  Planning your commercial real estate business’s marketing is essential to staying on track.  Keep focused on a single goal to ensure effectiveness.  All your marketing pieces, strategies and short-term experiments should all adhere to a single goal – LEADS.  If a marketing experiment brought in zero leads, change it or kill it.  This industry isn’t about blindly charging forward!  It’s best to weigh your results against other marketing strategies and pick / remove / tweak until they’re all working to generate commercial real estate leads.

1. Choose your niche. In today’s world, all of us want to hire someone that’s specialized for their particular needs. If I want to sell my industrial complex, I want an industrial sales specialist in North Las Vegas.  I’m not interested in hiring someone that mainly does retail leases, but can also do my project.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Brandy, if I specialize, I’ll lose deals!”  Even if you decide to specialize in a niche as specialized as Self-Storage, it doesn’t mean you must turn down every retail lease that comes your way.  It means all your marketing materials should focus on your specialty – website, services brochure, emails, social media posts and blogs should focus on your niche market.  It won’t take long before you’re handing off that office condo sale because you have too many self-storage complexes to deal with!  Seriously, it doesn’t take long for people to start considering you an expert.  The key is to start calling yourself an expert.  Everything else will follow.

2. Target your market. Reonomy is a great tool to pull contact information. (Here’s a full tutorial.)  You can get really specific, like “retail owners occupying less than 1,000 SF within a 5-mile radius of an address” or “owners of industrial properties in a zip code”.  This will provide basic information like the LLC name, mailing address and sometimes emails.  When you’re finished, you’ll have a list of all potential clients!

3. List your goals. “LEADS” is always number one! But you can have other goals that enhance your lead generating power.  Trust strategy is a great way to start any marketing plan.  It focuses around you as a person – your photo, personal stories about your specialty, social media posts about things you like or found interesting, and emails / cold calls with your personal voice.  I’ll be honest, I know it’s scary.  it’s easy to hide behind “our team blah blah service”, but, in this Internet age, we’re all missing a feeling of connection.  Being personal and upfront about who you are, the business you run and even telling stories about personal trials and tribulations provides an emotional connection to potential clients.  The goal is to make them like you before they pick up the phone.  All your materials, website and marketing efforts should focus on trust building, with the goal of gathering leads.

4. Developing a war plan. Time to go to war! That’s what I think when I’m building a strategy.

Email funnel.  I don’t have to tell you that follow-up is extremely important.  When people come to your website. their information should be captured with either an exchange of a white paper or newsletter signup.  They should receive a thank you letter and a monthly newsletter with articles your target market will find interesting.  Relationships are kept with follow-up and common interest.  Use this technique to keep in touch with your potential clients regularly.  (Check out our email drip management plans.)

Reonomy List.  In step #2 we’ve created a list of potential clients, but most of these people won’t have a public email address.  We’ll have to go old-school with this list – mailers and cold-calls.  Use a “white paper” that can be exchanged for their contact info.  You can also use this white paper on your website to build an email funnel list.  The goal of the mailers should be to move these potential clients to your Email funnel.  Mailers can cost $1 per card, but emails are $0.01 to send.  Cold calls should also be brought to the 21st Century with direct-to-voicemail capabilities.  VoiceLogic allows you to record a message and broadcast it to hundreds of phone numbers at once.  It will leave a voicemail message (yes, it works on business direct lines too!) and seem like you called individually.  Get your cold calling done in minutes, not hours!

Social Media.  A year ago, my advice was for commercial real estate brokers to skip the social media world.  Today, I have a different view.  Social media falls beautifully into “trust strategy” marketing.  The more your potential clients feel like they know you, the more willing they are to do business.  Your social media account says a lot about you.  Do you share funny memes?  Do you share articles you’ve created or found on the Internet?  All these pieces start to fit into a puzzle of “who is X?”  The more complete the picture, the better trust building works.  (Check out our social medial management plans.)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Yes, I skipped having a website and went directly to SEO because…. If you don’t have a website…SERIOUSLY!?  How are you in business!?  Those of you that have a website, let’s talk about SEO!  While only the Google Algorithm programmers 100% know what effects your rankings, we can make “best guesses” based on experiments.  1) Optimize your website with meta tags, keywords, site maps, etc.  You’ll need someone to audit and make changes to your website.  2) Connect your website with all your social media efforts.  Place your Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn account on your website.  3) Blog consistently.  Google ranks new, original content extremely highly, the more you write, the better.  Try to do at least one a month.  4) Backlinks are other websites that link to yours.  A professional can post relevant content on industry websites and connect your site to many others, gaining rank.  (Check out our SEO management plans.)

5. Measuring Results. Everything you do should be tested and measured for results. Your social media posts that did extremely well should be logged, and re-tested with similar content and photos to see exactly why it did well.  Was it the photo?  Was it the subject matter?  Maybe the time of day?  Who knows?!  That’s why we test – the more we information we have on successes, the easier it is to create more successes!  It’s easy to skip this step, as it’s important but not time sensitive.  But you should put a Google Calendar reminder for once a month to check the last month’s marketing efforts and note what worked and what didn’t.  Theorize why and use this information to plan your next month’s marketing.  The more you test, the better you’ll be at hitting the target!